Going Out of Business Sale: No Returns.
Chip’d Editorial Comment: Dr. Mark Goulston was a friend who passed away a week ago from an unexpected infection during his recovery from his bone marrow transplant. He has been a regular blog post contributor to MEA and a mentor to me. He told me when he sent this guest post to me in December that he “thought you and your readers might find this contribution interesting and helpful.” I print it here in honor of Mark who was 75.
Dear Chip and MEA,
I thought the above title was more upbeat and would grab your attention more than the other one I’ve been doing many interviews about, namely, “I’m dying to tell you.”
That’s because I have a serious and potentially terminal illness that is daily teaching me more important lessons about life, than living ever did. I have an urgency to share them because my treatments might result in some long term cognitive impairment - which I had a taste of today. If that happens, my creativity and language skills may take a hit and if so, I will try to be a good sport and be the doting parent, grandparent and husband that I am doing my best to be already.
I am the most content and at peace I have ever been in my life. When people try to pump me up with well-intentioned (and because they don’t know what else to say) statements like, “You gotta have a positive attitude,” I reply with, “I am positive and optimistic (hey if Chip can pull through everything he's been through, so can I) and I’ll trade you the utter peace of mind I have now that I have been chasing for 70 years for a positive attitude any day.”
Here are a few lessons I have learned that I hope will be relevant to you and your life and business.
- A matter of life and death for me and you. Have the best team and partners you can have in business, in marriage and in life where you have each others’ back, can fully depend and rely on, be optimistic and yet fully honest with. I don’t think I would be at such peace if I didn’t have the best doctor I have ever known or had (the guy has 260+ 5 star patient reviews - that’s a unicorn among unicorns). If I had gone with the brilliant, but arrogant MD I saw before who’d I be afraid to ask questions or share my deepest concerns with, I wouldn’t be nearly at so much peace. Don’t settle for anyone less in your business and in your life.
- Michelangelo Dying. Michelangelo famously said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set it free.” Well I saw what was the most important inside all the unimportant stuff (and there was a bunch). When I carved away what was unimportant, what became important completely shined through. And one of those was friendships with people like Chip, and we have committed to stay in touch more regularly.
- Visionary Dying. After studying visionaries, I believe they follow 3 D’s. 1. Define Reality beyond what is possible or even imaginable; 2. Declare Intention to make it happen; 3 Decide Strategy on how to make it happen. For me, my Visionary Dying involves: 1. Define Reality of what A Good Death is and I hit all the criteria from my late mentor Dr. Edwin Shneidman except living until 90; 2. Declare Intention to make that happen; 3. Decide Strategy which is living out that good death by assembling the best medical team around me and helping my family adapt to this final chapter.
Thank you Chip and my MEA friends if you have taken the time to read this and if you have, I hope you will check out my “I’m dying to tell you” YouTube and TikTok video series and if you find them helpful, I hope you will give me the gift of sharing them with people you think might also feel the same.
Until we meet again (and rumors of my demise which I may have started may hopefully be exaggerated), take good care of yourself and the people you love.
BTW if you like the above you might also like my Harvard Business Review Ideacast guest episode.
And finally, something that offers me a great deal of peace of mind is knowing that everyone who has ever lived has died and if they can do it, so can I.
Mark Goulston, M.D., F.A.P.A. was the co-founder of the Deeper Coaching Institute and co-creator of Deeper Coaching Certification at On Global Leadership